VEGAN: Oven-Crisp Pesto Eggplant Parmesan Sandwich
A super moist eggplant with a gastronomical garlic pesto on a sandwich.
Ok, to be perfectly honest, when I first started going full veggies and fruits for my meals and even before that, I only thought of eggplant as an ingredient for side dishes or main dishes that is usually served as soup or sautéed mixed with other veggies. But it never really occurred to me that I could make a sandwich with it.
And in my non-stop research for different vegan recipes, I came across this eggplant sandwich recipe that really caught my attention. I was so curious on how it would turn out and if it would really appeal to my liking and my family’s of course.
Guess what, it is so yummy! I love the garlic, basil and cashew pesto that gives the eggplant a really good kick. It is the first vegan sandwich that my hubby actually really likes (well, except for vegan burgers). So if you are not much of an eggplant lover, maybe this could change your mind.
Check out the recipe below.
Oven-Crisp Pesto Eggplant Parmesan Sandwich
1 red pepper, julienned
4 whole tomato slices
1 crusty French bread baguette
1 ½-2 cups vegan mozzarella cheese
1 cup fresh spinach
For Pesto Spread
1 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ cup fresh basil
Water, for consistency
Salt, to taste
Preheat oven broiler (500 degrees F). Slice eggplant lengthwise, so as to get ¼-inch thick “sheets.” Slice sheets into about 2-3-inch wide strips. Brush both sides of eggplant strips with a little olive oil and place on a baking sheet. On a separate baking sheet, toss tomato slices and red pepper slices with a little olive oil and then arrange so they’re not touching on the sheet. Put both baking sheets in the oven and roast vegetables under broiler for about 10 minutes; veggies should be tender but be careful you don’t burn the eggplant.
Meanwhile, combine all pesto spread ingredients except water and salt in a blender or food processor. Blend until you get a chunky texture, then add a bit of water at a time until you have a smooth puree (should be spreadable but not runny). Add salt to taste; blend again.
Remove veggies from oven; set aside. Slice baguette down the middle lengthwise and then cut halves in half. Arrange on a baking sheet to assemble sandwiches. On the bottom half of each sandwich, spread a thin layer of the pesto spread, followed by a sprinkling of mozzarella. Add the following layers: eggplant strips, cheese, 2 tomato slices and peppers, cheese, spinach, cheese. Brush the top half of each baguette slice with a little olive oil and set next to the bottom half on the baking sheet.
Put sandwiches in oven under the broiler for about 10 minutes, or until bread is crispy and cheese is melty. Remove from oven; spread a thick layer of pesto sauce on the top half of each baguette and place on top of bottom half. Cut in half to serve. Enjoy!
A very big thank you to yummly.com for this delicious recipe.